Sunday, September 18, 2016

Record US Military Aid to Israel Not About Security, But Prolonging the Occupation--The Real News

Friday, September 09, 2016

Seattle Raging Grannies Support Standing Rock During Rush Hour! #NoDAPL

Monday, September 05, 2016

#NoDAPL Standing Rock Solidarity Rally in Seattle

I've been told at other gatherings not to film drummers, but since this was a very public rally, I did it (but showing their backs).  There is a solidarity statement and attribution for this song from a First Nations member in Canada to Standing Rock & all tribes members by one of the drummers at the end of the video.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Iowans Stand in Solidarity with Standing Rock.. No Pipeline! #NoDAPL #NoBAKKEN

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"Three ‘Raging Grannies’ arrested for blocking oil and coal trains" -- Spokane #RagingGrannies!


Police arrested three protesters calling themselves “Raging Grannies” on Wednesday after the women blocked BNSF tracks to protest oil and coal trains. 
The women – all grandmothers – were the last of about 20 people who blocked rail lines near Trent Avenue and Napa Street to protest the movement of oil and coal trains through Spokane, and the burning of fossil fuels.
“People are sick and tired of the inaction on climate change,” said Kai Huschke, one of the protesters.
Trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region and Alberta’s tar sands pass through the city every day. Coal from the Powder River Basin heading to Northwest ports for shipment to Asia also moves through the city on trains.

“Climate change is the most urgent issue of our time. Today, short-term profit by fossil fuel corporations is coming at the cost of environmental destruction and our children’s future,” said Margie Heller, a protester and one of the “Raging Grannies” arrested Wednesday. The others were Deena Romoff and Nancy Nelson. 
All three are members of the activist group Raging Grannies – an international nonviolent group that began in 1987 in Victoria, British Columbia, to protest the environmental impact of a U.S. Navy ship. Membership is restricted to grandmothers, though there is no age limit.
Across the United States and Canada, members in “gaggles” – chapters – have protested similar issues of climate change and fossil fuel usage, including the local chapter in Spokane.
“We were willing to be arrested to stop climate change,” Nelson said. “And with the oil and coal trains coming right through our city, this is a very serious issue, which we have to address.”
The protest began at noon and lasted for about an hour. It affected as many as eight trains carrying coal, oil, containers, and mostly grain, said BNSF Railwayspokeswoman Courtney Wallace. The trains were stalled as officials worked to clear the tracks.
Arrests were made peacefully. The women sang a protest song to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” before being led off the tracks and into police custody, where they face charges of trespassing and obstructing railroad tracks.
“Don’t ship coal or oil on railroads, it’s not smart to do,” the women sang. “Burning fossil fuels is foolish, cause it makes more CO2.”
Rusty Nelson, husband of Nancy Nelson – one of the three women arrested – said the protestors’ intent wasn’t to say they hate trains or to stop the flow of passenger trains, which also travel on BNSF lines.
“But, there’s just no excuse to be sending coal and oil across the world when it’s obsolete,” he said.
Wallace said BNSF Railway – the largest rail shipper of crude oil to Washington refineries – respects people’s First Amendment rights, but said safety is the railroad’s paramount concern. 
“They are putting themselves in harm’s way,” she said of the protesters. “They are putting our crews in harm’s way. We ask that they do the right thing: Stay off the tracks and exercise their First Amendment rights safely.”
In May, more than 50 anti-oil protesters were arrested for occupying railroad tracks near Anacortes, Washington. On Saturday, five protesters in Bellingham blocked another BNSF Railway rail line and were arrested.
On Aug. 15, the Spokane City Council voted to withdraw an unprecedented measurethat would have fined railroad operators up to $261 per car carrying flammable crude or coal through downtown Spokane. Council president Ben Stuckart, who introduced the idea in late July, said the measure would have exposed citizens to too much legal liability.
“I don’t believe that it’s legally defensible, or defensible for us to bring forward,” Stuckart said during the Aug. 15 meeting.
Staff writers Kip Hill and Becky Kramer contributed to this report.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"America Needs to Listen to What Colin Kaepernick Is Actually Trying to Say" -- Dave Zirin, @EdgeofSports


There has been a lot of analysis—both thoughtful and noxious—of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit down during the national anthem in the past few days. Unfortunately, there has been less conversation about the politics behind his action.
Instead of reckoning with the substance of his critique, much of the media coverage has fostered an abstract discussion about patriotism and etiquette—centering the question of whether he has the “right” to protest rather than examining what it is he’s trying to say.
As Charles Modiano breaks down brilliantly, this is the wrong approach:
Colin Kaepernick’s deliberate act of protest to sit out the national anthem caught the nation’s attention, and this initial sentence framed most media headlines: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.” But the meat of Kaepernick’s cause actually came two sentences later: “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Hold it right there: “Getting away with murder.” That is the story.
Kaepernick makes it clear that his action was connected to the movement against police violence. But a closer examination of his 18-minute press avail on Sunday reveals even more about his motivations and thinking. The transcript itself contains the most effective defense against the legions trying to distort or delegitimize his actions.
Responding to reporters, Kaepernick demonstrated a methodical and, whether you agree or disagree, ideologically consistent rationale for sitting out the anthem. Kaepernick is appalled by police brutality, which he sees as an expression of bipartisan, government-sanctioned violence. He wants to use his platform to raise awareness and is willing to risk his job to do it. He is, as ESPN columnist Bomani Jones put it, “asking for justice, not peace.”
In the presser, Kaepernick said:
These aren’t new situations. This isn’t new ground. There are things that have gone on in this country for years and years and have never been addressed, and they need to be. There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.
When asked if he would continue to sit during the anthem, he answered,
Yes. I’ll continue to sit. I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.
He was immediately asked if this stance meant he was anti-military, and he responded:
I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they have fought for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.
One of the more outrageous–and offensive—arguments from the sports commentariat is that because Kaepernick is biracial and was raised by white parents in a middle-class suburb, he could not understand “oppression.” This charge has been almost uniformly made by white, right-wing sportswriters. Kaepernick was asked if he “personally” felt oppressed, and he said:
There have been situations where I feel like I’ve been ill-treated, yes. This stand wasn’t for me. This stand wasn’t because I feel like I’m being put down in any kind of way. This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and affect change. So I’m in the position where I can do that, and I’m going to do that for people that can’t.
This isn’t for looks. This isn’t for publicity or anything like that. This is for people that don’t have the voice. And this is for people that are being oppressed and need to have equal opportunities to be successful, to provide for families and not live in poor circumstances.
Kaepernick also told his own story of being black in the United States: 
I’ve had times where one of my roommates was moving out of the house in college, and because we were the only black people in that neighborhood, the cops got called and we had guns drawn on us. Came in the house, without knocking, guns drawn on my teammates and roommates. So I have experienced this. People close to me have experienced this. This isn’t something that’s a one-off case here or a one-off case there. This has become habitual. This has become a habit. So this is something that needs to be addressed.
Another argument some have made is that, while Kaepernick’s message is fine, his actions are not. That not standing for the flag is the “wrong way” to do things. Again, he had a thought-out response:
I don’t understand how it’s the wrong way. To me, this is a freedom that we’re allowed in this country. And going back to the military, it’s a freedom that men and women that have fought for this country have given me this opportunity by contributions they have made. So I don’t see it as going about it the wrong way. This is something that has to be said, it has to be brought to the forefront of everyone’s attention, and when that’s done, I think people can realize what the situation is and then really [e]ffect change.… And the fact that it has blown up like this, I think it’s a good thing. It brings awareness. Everybody knows what’s going on and this sheds more light on it. Now I think people are really talking about it, having conversations about how to make change. What’s really going on in this country. And we can move forward.
Kaepernick was asked about concern that he would be seen as indicting all police and again, in a focused manner, brought it back to a political argument about how broken our system of policing has become. “There is police brutality,” he said.
People of color have been targeted by police. So that’s a large part of it and they’re government officials. They are put in place by the government. So that’s something that this country has to change. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable. Make those standards higher. You have people that practice law and are lawyers and go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist. That’s insane. Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.
He was asked whether this was because it was an election year, which is its own statement about how we view politics in this country: something to practice for a few months every four years.
It wasn’t a timing thing, it wasn’t something that was planned, but I think the two presidential candidates that we currently have also represent the issues that we have in this country right now. You have Hillary [Clinton], who has called black teens or black kids super predators. You have Donald Trump, who is openly racist. We have a presidential candidate (Clinton) who has deleted emails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate. That doesn’t make sense to me. If that was any other person, you’d be in prison. So what is this country really standing for?
Lastly, Kaepernick was asked whether he was concerned about getting cut and said, “I don’t know. But if I do, I know I did what’s right. And I can live with that at the end of the day.”
It is inspiring to see an athlete who cares more about the world than their own ambitions. And it is stunning that so many people are saying that an NFL player this thoughtful and selfless is somehow a “bad” role model, in a league so rife with scandal from the owner’s box to the locker room.
It is also pathetic that so many in the sports media, who a few months ago were praising the legacy of Muhammad Ali, are coming down so ferociously on Colin Kaepernick. As if sports and politics can mix only in the past tense, and racism is something that can only be discussed as a historical question. People can choose to agree or disagree with Kaepernick’s analysis or arguments, but they should on deal with the actuality of what he is risking his career to bring into the light.

Monday, August 29, 2016

How Israeli Arms Fuel Genocide, Civil Strife Across The World - Mint Press News